Basically, you need a good ripper and a way to organize the music.
One important element of a ripper, besides sound quality, is getting the tags (electronic labels in the files) that let the Fuze find your music. WMP (and iTunes) have access to the best online tag database, CDDB, but they are inferior rippers. MediaMonkey (with LAME as above) uses Freedb, which is user-created and pretty good, but not always correct and not always up-to-date with the newest releases. Once ripped, you can (and should) re-tag with mp3tag, a free program that can also look in Amazon’s tag database. The Fuze likes tags in the format ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1, which is something you can set (under Tools/Options/Tags/Mpeg–Write) in mp3tag.
Roxio Creator Pro seems to be more for creating and burning CDs and DVDs than for the modest functions of ripping CDs and organizing them on the Fuze. At that price, it had better have a good ripper built in and good tagging, but it has a lot of functions that are irrelevant to the Fuze. And I don’t know whether it has the playlisting functions of a music library program like WMP or Media Monkey. You could rip with Roxio and then use MSC mode.
The Fuze has two USB Modes (under Settings/System Settings). Under MSC mode, the computer sees it as storage. You rip a CD onto your hard drive and drag and drop it onto the Fuze.
MTP mode is supposed to work with Windows Media Player the way iPods work with iTunes. You can use WMP to make playlists and sync (make the Fuze match what’s in the library on your computer). Unfortunately WMP’s built-in ripper isn’t as good as other music-library software. And WMP’s defaults can try to do things behind your back, like ripping to .wma unless you change it to .mp3, adding copy protection (crippling files) or trying to sync everything automatically whenever you plug in. I find it tyrannical and glitchy, but lots of people use it without complaint.
I’m a little old-school. I rip CDs to hard drive and drag them over. I generally listen to albums or one artist, so I don’t do playlisting. But for my needs, MSC mode works perfectly, and nothing happens on the Fuze that I don’t control.
Media Monkey works in MSC or MTP mode, but for playlists in Media Monkey, you’re better off in MTP mode.
Message Edited by Black-Rectangle on 04-23-2010 08:41 AM